Karen McDougal, the 1998 Playmate of the Year, is one of those girls, and she isn't afraid to ride on her own.
While Playboy Playmates might appear too pretty to hop on a bike, there are a few who do. Karen McDougal, the 1998 Playmate of the Year, is one of those girls, and she isn't afraid to ride on her own. To prove this point, she decided to have a custom bike built especially for her at Phoenix Choppers, in Phoenix, Arizona, not far from her home. Obviously, the guys at Phoenix Choppers were more than happy to accommodate her. One of Phoenix Choppers' owners, John Beckwith, started the project with a consultation with Karen regarding what kind of bike she wanted. The meeting closed with two requirements -- it had to be pink and it had to be reliable.
The Phoenix Chopper staff started the build with an '03 Penz Performance frame with 3 inches of stretch in the backbone and 40 degrees of rake in the neck. Bolted to the neck is an '03 Perse frontend with 5-degree raked triple-trees, while the rear suspension is handled by a set of Legend Air shocks. A 21-inch Weld wheel wrapped in a 90/90 Metzeler tire was positioned between the fork legs, and the chassis became mobile with the addition of an 18x8.5-inch Weld wheel and a 240 Metzeler tire in the rear. The rear four-piston PM caliper is a drive-side conversion with a matching Weld rotor. Up front, a four-piston PM squeezes a Weld rotor on the left side, leaving the wheel open from the right side.
In the power department, John decided that a stock 88-inch motor just wouldn't do justice to all the work he had planned for the bike, so an H-D 103ci Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam was chosen for some added excitement. The cases, cylinders, and heads were sent out for polishing, and when they returned, the assembly began. All the internals of the motor were H-D, but the rocker covers, pushrod tubes, tappet blocks, and cam cover are all pieces from Ness. To install the Twin Cam motor in the Evo-style frame, a few changes were necessary. A special mount was bolted to the rear mounts of the motor to allow it to accommodate a polished Baker six-speed. Transferring power from the motor to the trans are H-D primary internals surrounded by a set of Pro-One covers. Once the driveline was bolted down, other engine essentials were added, including an S&S G carburetor with a Carl's Speed Shop intake, a Dyna ignition, and Wicked Brothers exhaust pipes.
Sheetmetal was the Phoenix Choppers crew's next concern. They manufacture a few fenders that would have worked perfectly on Karen's bike, but not without some customizing first. The front fender hugs the contour of the tire as close as possible, while still allowing for expansion at speed. After securing the rear fender to the Penz Performance struts, it was modified to incorporate a mini beltguard. The oil tank was positioned underneath the seat area, but it flows with the lines of the frame and rear fender so well, that it almost appears as part of the frame. To hold fuel, a one-piece gas tank, from Independent Gas Tank, was mounted low on the backbone and massaged to follow the smooth lines of the rest of the sheetmetal.
Mike Learn's Airbrush and Design handled the pink aspect of the build. Mike and his cohort, Krash, molded the frame and the sheetmetal and prepped it for a basecoat of Pink Pearl. Then, pink metalflake was applied to create the flame graphics.
The pink painted surfaces were returned to the Phoenix Chopper shop, and the final accessories were secured to the bike. Phoenix Chopper handlebars and risers were bolted on top of the triple-trees with PM hand controls above a Headwinds headlight. PM foot controls and pegs were bolted to the frame, and a Paul Yaffe Original radius taillight/license plate went on the swingarm. The bike was finished with a Guy Tieman seat custom-built for the bike.
Six months after their initial meeting, John called up Karen to let her know that her reliable pink bike was ready for its first ride. When she arrived at the shop, she barely said a word, but her body language said it all. With a huge grin on her face she asked for the keys, fired it up, and disappeared for a few hours -- the smile never left her face.
|OWNER|| Karen McDougal|
|YEAR/MAKE|| '03/Special Construction |
|FABRICATION|| Phoenix Choppers|
|ASSEMBLY|| Phoenix Choppers|
|BUILD TIME|| Six months |
|SIZE/TYPE|| 103ci H-D Screamin' Eagle|
|CARB|| S&S G |
|PIPES|| Wicked Bros.|
|YEAR/TYPE|| '03/Baker six-speed|
|CLUTCH|| Rivera Pro|
|PRIMARY DRIVE|| H-D |
|YEAR/TYPE|| '03/Penz Performance|
|RAKE|| 40 degrees|
|STRETCH|| 3 inches out|
|SWINGARM|| Penz Performance|
|REAR SUSPENSION|| Legend Air|
|FORKS|| Perse Performance|
|TRIPLE-TREES|| Perse raked 5 degrees|
|WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES|
|WHEELS|| Front: 21-inch Weld|
Rear: 18x8.5 Weld
|TIRES|| Front: Metzeler|
|BRAKES|| Front: PM|
|MOLDING|| Mike Learn Air Brush and Design|
|PAINTER|| Mike Learn|
|COLOR|| Pink Pearl, Metalflake|
|CHROME PLATING AND POLISHING|| Meclec|
|BARS|| Phoenix Choppers|
|HAND CONTROLS|| PM|
|TAILLIGHT|| Paul Yaffe Originals|
|ELECTRICAL|| Phoenix Choppers|
|FUEL TANK(S)|| Independent Gas Tank|
|OIL TANK|| Penz Performance|
|FRONT FENDER|| Phoenix Choppers|
|REAR FENDER|| Phoenix Choppers|
|FENDER STRUTS|| Penz Performance|
|FOOT CONTROLS|| PM|